How important is genetics anyway?
The topic of genomes is ubiquitous in the field of science. In fact, the very topic has been mentioned in the media so much that people may erroneously turn their head while believing that it is innocent posing no threat. In other words, that genetic data is a neutral commodity and only is used for our benefit. Convenient truth, right? The impression you have of genetics is a result of decades of careful massaging manipulation by the biotechnological companies (click here for Myriad in the U.S Supreme Court). But, ask yourself what do you really know. Genetics is vast expanding from pharmacogenomics, forensics, eugenics, genetic modified organisms, to geoengineering. This is a short list, rather; you should think more expansively and think of genetic information also a property. More specifically, genetic information is an extension of you, your identity and once revealed, it is extremely difficult to control: who possesses it, quantitative distribution and what is being done with it, to you now and future.
Would you freely disclose it like publishing what your favorite restaurant or holiday spot? Take an example of genetic information being closer to a fingerprint than simply an indication of susceptibility to cancer. For example, take it a bit further, like looking out in the horizon searching to find another inhibited planet in the near distance without any privacy. Privacy and rights are the engine of democracy built on freedom. Your genetic information can be used to interpret your health potential, your personality trait, your intelligence, and finding information in lieu of your keen. Because the enormous financial value that genetic information have particularly for powerful entities, such as biotechnological companies and politicians a federal law was created, that involved large insurance companies and members of the government, however this law is limited to insurance policy and employment. How is your DNA being used adversely in your life, in a population, in a nation? We need to be better engaged with how genetic information is being used in the rest of our lives and protect ourselves from becoming a Hollywood film where we are universally being spied upon and controlled. Specifically, how is your genetic information used against you?
Algorithms being used to study behavioral patterns to create models of predication, design marketing campaigns, advertisements, commercials, stock manipulations, and consumer products by function demising privacy, privacy to the most mundane level. You may be familiar with hacking; your identity, your bank account number, your mail, your address book, airlines, your credit card, social security number, etcetera. Your genetic information is a trove of treasure also vulnerable to hacking. For example, consider all the information that is already being sold: your background report, your medical information, your credit report, municipal records, and then think about all the information that you willingly broadcast via social media. Let us not forget, the lengthy but equally as important internet cache, buying history and the like that is also a vital part of the pie. All this information may be trivial for you but companies exist solely to make revenue, billions in fact from it. You are told that your genetic information can not be traced back to the individual because it does not include personal information, this may be true as a single component, however, gathering the above resources to compile your identity is possible.
This false presentation of security is misleading because computer algorithms have accumulated suffice data in current times that they can decode your DNA sequence and your relatives, thereby revealing your identity. Recently, Grim Sleeper, a serial killer in Los Angeles has been charged with ten murders which occurred from 1985 to 2007. Since there was no existing DNA information on police files for the Grim Sleeper, but DNA from evidence the task force could not link the suspect. However, forensics was used to locate his son, which traced back to the Grim Sleeper. “An officer posing as a busboy at a pizza parlor got DNA samples from dishes and utensils Franklin had been eating with at a birthday party,” and with a DNA match was then arrested (2015). This example depicts a situation when spying, intrusion and breech of privacy leads to perhaps justice, but remember back when citizens were berated the government when it was revealed that our phones were tapped. The problem has since become grossly epidemic. How else is our DNA information used against us. How does this put our rights in jeopardy. Consider that warfare does not necessitate soldiers in the battle field. With population genetics coupled with algorithms, it is known what chemicals may be harm them, thus this information could be replace artillery, populations and individuals alike.
The use of genetic information is not simplistic. You should resist the temptation to posses the convenient perception. It is just as biological and practical of a component, with the exception that is comprises so many facets of our vitality, in civil suites, personal relationships, and commerce and so forth. The advent discovery of the common denominator correlated with factors of uniqueness makes this element extremely applicable for government and their affiliations, allowing them more power than ever previously imagined. So, the next time you publish something personal online, consider for who that information really matters. Nothing is for free. Essentially, you are trading, but do you know what you will get?
Lloyd, J. (2015) All We’re Askin for Is Justice”: Trial Date Set in “Grim Sleeper” Serial Killings. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Grim-Sleeper-Killings-Murder-Lonnie-Franklin-291073501.html